Director: John 'Bud' Cardos
Screenplay: J. Larry Carroll
Starring: Jim Davis, Christopher Mitchum, Dorothy Malone
Producers: Charles Band, Paul Gentry, Steve Neill, Wayne Schmidt
Country: United States
Running Time: 79 min
BBFC Certificate: PG
Though the disk labels this ‘Grindhouse’, it really isn’t a cool tongue in cheek homage to shock-video of the past, but rather just an old 1970’s space movie seeing the light of day once again.
The feel throughout is U.S. TV drama; think the TV series of Planet of the Apes meets The Invaders by way of The Fall Guy and you’re in the right ballpark. Add to this some special effects reminiscent of Choccy (BBC 1980's kids tv sci-fi drama) at worst and Tron at best and we have the makings of a confusing yet entertaining ride.
The story kicks off with an American family moving to a new home they’ve built in the desert. The little girl, Jenny, discovers a mysterious glowing pyramid near her horse’s stable, which spells the start of a whole barrage of weird phenomena - lights in the sky, mysterious glowing phosphorence in the house and electrical interference.
It then gets just plain weird when a 5 inch tall Green Goblin-like little man appears, dancing around the bedroom and apparently warding off a ‘baddie’ in the form of a weird flying machine, about the size of a shoe box that moves really slowly, looks like a modified ‘Big Trak’ and, armed with a lazer, burns holes in doors.
The desert appears to be a hive of extra terrestrial activity with howling winds adding to the mysterious lights and alien presence; the intensity is increasing. The acting is also not as bad as you might expect.
Suddenly, as if dancing goblins weren’t odd enough, two totally out of place rejects from a Ray Harryhausen movie (a dragon type creature and a big monster) start having a plasticine conflict outside of the house in an odd departure from everything that’s happened thus far.
From here it seems that anything goes! The house is caught in some sort of space/time vortex. Cast members disappear and reappear, as does mysterious aircraft/space wreckage and finally the whole house. As the family make their escape on horseback into the desert, sister Beth who was zapped off into the void earlier, now reappears near a boulder in a serene state, proclaiming that “…for a while the whole galaxy was turned upside down” in a half-arsed attempt to explain everything.
It transpires that all is now fine. The alien presence is a friendly one and the family are free to head off towards a beautiful alien city, a new life and a happy American ending; all smiles and hugs.
If you like vintage sci-fi and want to check out something a little different, give this a watch. I actually found it pretty entertaining.
Review by Grant Powell
The Day Time Ended is out now on DVD in the UK, released by 88 Films.